By Rosemary Marchese
Physiotherapist and mum of 3 fit kids
Get organised with healthy meals for your week ahead
I can’t stress enough how important meal preparation is to me as a busy mum. Without it, there’s the risk of not having enough healthy food on hand for snacks and meals that provide my family the energy and vitality they need to get through their day. I love to cook for my family but sometimes it can be really full on during the week. That’s why I have some really simple meals on hand to get me by, plus a load of recipes that I can resort to when I do have the extra time.
My tips for getting organised:
- Sit down once per week and plan your meals – every one of them. It doesn’t have to be complicated. One day could look like this:
Breakfast: Sweet potato and baby spinach frittata
Morning tea (driven by the fact I have three kids): yoghurt and fruit
Lunch: Cheese and salad wraps
Afternoon tea: Hommus with celery and carrots sticks
Dinner: Salmon, fried rice and broccoli.
- Once you have your day plans sorted you need to break it down to work out your grocery list. I suggest then shopping online for the big shop but if you like to, or have the time to go an browse, then go and get your shopping done for the week.
- Top up on fresh fruit and vegetables if needed once only during the week. This is a good time to pick up anything else that you would prefer to have fresh for the week.
- Once per week spend 1-2 hours in the kitchen, e.g. Saturday afternoon, to get a little organised for the week. Notice I only spend about 1-2 hours. You may choose to spend more time and do more preparation but personally I get over it after about an hour or two. If I have a busy weekend and less time to prepare then the week ahead consists of even simpler meals. I spend this hour or two making a meal or two in advance, such as a lasagne or Bolognese sauce that I can freeze. I may also chop some veges, e.g. carrot sticks, in advance. Hint: they keep well for a little while in water once chopped.
- Have an ‘oven meal’ ready for Monday night. I find it’s great to start off the working and school week really organised and with a meal that can go straight into the oven, but which I have prepared in advance (and frozen it or made the day before) such as a Shepherd’s pie (homemade of course). This way we start off the week with less stress about dinner because the meal can cook in the oven while the kids get homework done.
- Make a double batch of food once or twice per week. So, when I make a Sunday breakfast frittata I will often make an extra one and freeze it in a slice tray. There’s another breakfast done for later in the week and avoids us resorting to crappy cereal breakfasts.
- Keep easy to grab snacks ready to go. Yoghurt, small cheeses and nuts are great ‘go-to’ snacks to have, especially during those weeks where you have prepared your meals and snacks a little less thoroughly. It happens!
Rose is a Fit Busy Mum of 3 fit kids. She aims to empower mums who are time poor. She acknowledges that mums are ‘busy’ but tries to inspire them to regain their fitness through simple everyday habits that she promotes through her book ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’. Visit www.thefitbusymum.com.au